News Tidbits for Monday, December 4

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Arab Peace Plan Ignores Palestinians

Source: The New York Times

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Construction in the Israeli settlement of Brushin in the West Bank. Credit: Tomas Munita for The New York Times 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia presented a peace plan that would be more in favor of the Israelis than any plan ever embraced by the American government, one that no Palestinian leader could ever accept.

Analysts said they believe the prince is trying to force a settlement in order to cement Israeli cooperation against Iran.

The White House declared on Sunday that it was not its plan, and was still months away from finalizing a proposal for peace, while the Saudi government denied that it supports those positions.


Trump Set to Recognize Jerusalem as Capital

Source: The New York Times

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Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Trump is expected to announce a decision on Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but not move the American Embassy there for now. The diplomatic status of Jerusalem is one of the world’s most contested issues, with Israel and the Palestinians claiming it as their capital. Its holy sites are sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and any change in its status would have vast repercussions across the Middle East and other Islamic-majority countries worldwide.

Mr. Trump promised to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv as one of his first acts as president, something that no president, Republican or Democrat, has done since the state of Israel was established in 1948. Some fear this decision may jeopardize peace talks and trigger a new Palestinian uprising.


Norilsk – City of Brutal Extreme’s

Source: The New York Times

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Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Norilsk, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is Russia’s coldest, most polluted and richest industrial city, thanks to its vast deposits of palladium, a rare mineral used in cellphones that sells for more than $1,000 an ounce. It is also very cold and very dark. For two months during winter, the sun stops rising, and temperatures drop to as low as minus 62 Celsius.

Once a prison camp, known as Norillag, dismantled by Khrushchev in 1956, today the city is home to Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and also a major supplier of nickel, copper and other metals. The company is also among the world’s biggest producers of pollution, turning the area surrounding its factories into a dead zone of lifeless tree trunks, mud and snow.

Most of the work and leisure takes place indoors, particularly in the winter period of perpetual darkness. Taxis thrive in the city, since it is too cold to walk or wait for the bus. There are no roads or railway lines connecting Norilsk to parts of Russia outside the Arctic. The only way to get in or out is by plane or by boat on the Arctic Ocean. And, if you are thinking of moving there, think twice – there is no internet.

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